Nigeria: JOHESU Nationwide Strike Takes Toll On UITH, Lagos Hospitals Open for Work, Provide Services

A protest by Nigerian health workers.

The ongoing strike by the Joint Health Sector Union JOHESU is taking its toll on the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH), as it entered its third day today. The work to rule industrial action was declared by the non-doctors of the nation's hospitals, especially, teaching hospitals and federal medical centres (FMCs) to seek improved working conditions from their Federal Government.

A visit to the UITH showed that the nurses, pharmacists, laboratory technologists, administrative and establishment staff were absent from duties in compliance with the union's directives.But it was not a total strike as all categories of doctors of the hospital were sighted attending to patients. It was not, however, certain if new patients were admitted.

Chairman of the union, J. A. Olatunde, said: "The strike is total and indefinite. We cannot afford to be an exception but we hope the Federal Government would act fast on our demands to enable us suspend the strike.

"The issues of health should not be toyed with. We are concerned with the health of Nigerians but we cannot continue to groan in pains even as we work to save people's lives. However, management and staff of the UITH may be basking in the euphoria of the emergence of Professor Mikhail Olayinka Buhari as the Acting Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the hospital, following his introduction of some people- oriented policies since assuming office last month.

Buhari, a former Chief Medical Advisory Committee (CMAC) of the UITH, succeeded Professor Abdulwaheed Olajide Olatinwo, whose tenure lapsed in March. Meanwhile, in spite of the nationwide strike, general hospitals in Lagos State are unruffled by the development, as they were cited providing services.

The Guardian learnt that at Ikorodu General Hospital everything was normal as doctors attended to patients as scheduled.Sources said the JOHESU strike does not affect state hospitals but was only effective at the federal level, hence their resolve to continue attending to patients.

Members of JOHESU had earlier threatened to embark on a nationwide indefinite strike as from Tuesday, April 17, 2018 due to government's failure to meet their demands.

President of the union, Josiah Biobelemoye, who issued the strike notice on Monday, attributed the industrial action to the "insensitivity and lackadaisical attitude of drivers of the health sector" and directed all JOHESU members in federal health institutions to commence the strike on April 17.

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